Book Review – Home Fire.

I do not normally review books that I read but, when I read something extraordinary, I do. Kamila Shamsie‘s Home Fire comes under this category. I came across this book by accident and bought it at the recommendation of another avid reader friend and I am glad that I did.

The story as accepted by the author is based on the play Antigone and the characters in the book are all named with names similar to those of the play.

The story is about two families of British citizens of Pakistani origin who get trapped in problems of the modern world of terrorism.

Character portrayal is simply brilliant and the conflicting emotions of being Muslim, modern and British with roots in Pakistan are brought out vividly. The background is all too familiar for people who are abreast of what is happening in Britain vis a vis its Muslim population and I for one could not put the book down once I started reading it.

A very unusual treatment of a very troubling situation skilfully articulated by the author, I recommend it to my readers who are readers too.

It is available on both hard copy and kindle formats and I read it on my kindle. At some future date, I intend reading it again. I also intend reading all other books by the author.

Politics.

“No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.”

~ Thomas Sowell

As we begin the new year, to me at least, it appears that we are heading to a period of calm after the storm of a year of political turmoil in many parts of the world. We had Brexit, The USA’s Presidential elections, impeachment of the President of South Korea, Italian elections, etc, and in my own backyard, the high decibel politics due to the demonetisation.

While all these things and many more minor political shenanigans took place, what grabbed the maximum attention, naturally due to its global importance is the electioneering, the election and the result of the American President.

Over here in India, the political oneupmanship following the demonetisation continues unabated. Addding spice to the curry as it were are forth coming elections in some crucial states in India for the state legislatures. The cacophony is mind blowing and within my circle of friends, some rifts have taken place due to differing ideologies and loyalties. Politics and religion does that! I am grateful that the latter has not popped up as yet among us!

To conclude on a lighter note, India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh goes to the polls shortly and the dynasty that has been ruling there is facing a palace revolt as it were.  Mulayam Singh Yadav is the patriarch and the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is his son.  The joke is that Mulayam is suffering from Akhilesh’s Heels.

Since I will be otherwise preoccupied tomorrow,  I am publishing this this week’s Friday LBC post a day in advance.  The topic has been chosen by Shackman. Other than him and me, Maria the gaelikaa and Pravin are likely to write on the same topic. Please do drop in at their blogs and see what they have to say about it.

Names Of Places.

I am fascinated by strange names of people and places. We have enough of them in India to keep me fascinated for ever. Unfortuanately they are all in Indian languages which will need some major translation work for me for this post. For example Kukadpally is a suburb of Hyderabad which means Village Of the Cocks. Historically, it was famous for its fighting cocks. Yes, Cockfighting is a much followed ‘sport’ in India despite it being illegal.

British names however are something special and my fascination with them started with my first introduction to Middlesex. I have come a long way from those teen age days, but I still keep coming up with odd names that arouse my curiosity. Grannymar, knowing my fascination for them, has sent me a link that is out of this world.

There are others who appear to share this fascination with me in Britain and one site that does it well has this on it.

I hope that my British readers will come up with other interesting names! I am sure that the USA, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand too must have some, for they all have English connections. It will be interesting to read about them.

Hell.

Welcome to another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar. Quite why, I will never be able to figure out.

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

My idea of hell is what Europe, particularly the UK will be like, if the messages in these nine photographs taken in London, of British citizens achieve what they propose. These photographs were taken during a “Religion of peace demonstration” taken out by British citizens.

That is why, before what I love becomes hell, I want to visit.

To me, many of these citizens of a country on whose model our own democracy is built, seem already to be  in hell.  I wonder if they are dreaming of the time that they can go to that heaven that they are promised by their religious teachers.

Providence? Serendipity? After I wrote the post and before it could be published, I came across this article in the Independent. My best wishes to the UK in their endeavours to protect themselves from terrorists,

To change the mood somewhat after that rant, here is a true story that snopes says appeared in ‘The People’ paper, that should cheer my readers up a bit.

Iraqi terrorist, Khay Rahnajet, didn’t pay enough postage on a letter bomb. It came back with “return to sender” stamped on it. Forgetting it was the bomb, he opened it and was blown to bits.